|British cider - carbonated, looks like pee, gets teenagers shitfaced|
My current work-in-progress Lovers' Wheel mentions cider a LOT - it's set in a magical corner of the English West Country and there is apple-picking, wassailing and drinking a-plenty going on. I didn't however realise until this last week that there may be a communication gap between me as writer, and my US readers.
Here in the UK, cider is a cheap, fizzy ALCOHOLIC drink - usually 5% or so ABV, but there are stronger ones. Until the advent of alcopops it was the gateway drink for teenagers, fufilling that vital role of giving them something to dull the taste of their cigarettes as they sit round for interminable hours in council playing fields, in the drizzle, scowling at everyone. Cider is bloody horrible, and I speak as someone who used to drink it ... and can't go near the stuff any more.
|My stomach is having nightmare flashbacks RIGHT NOW|
There are variants on the theme. In the West Country you can get scrumpy, which is roughly speaking home-brewed cider that is distributed or sold illicitly and is usually rumoured to be flavoured with dead rats. It's stronger than commercial varieties and not carbonated.
There are draft ciders, which are posh versions of scrumpy. They are more fashionable these last few years.
|It tastes like rotting apples ... and you'll think you are stone cold sober until you try to stand up.|
WHY DON'T YOU JUST CALL IT JUICE, GUYS?
Which, at any rate, finally explained my US editor's confusion when this happened in Summer Seduction:
She opened her mouth to say something, though she hadn’t yet lined up what it was going to be—and at that moment, one of the young guys Shane had introduced her to previously bundled into the group. He was sweating and flushed, and very clearly a bit the worse for the cheap cider .
Davie looked around grinning at everyone, fixed his gaze on Liz’s breasts and announced, “Fuck me, you’ve got great tits!”
Then he put out both hands and grabbed them.
Shane, without hesitation, swung a fist in a haymaker that knocked Davie off his feet and straight into the people behind. He went down flat in a confusion of staggering drinkers, slopped cider and aggrieved shouts.
Liz stared, mouth open, as Shane stomped forward to stand over the fallen man with fists bunched. She hadn’t been offended by the sudden grope—she hadn’t had time to get offended. This was so far outside her usual experience that she was in shock.
“What the fuck!” roared a big ugly guy who’d lost his own pint over his girlfriend in the sudden ruckus.
“You want some?” Shane demanded gleefully. There was a joyous grin on his face. “You want some too?”
You learn something new every day ... ;-)